PSP Statement Regarding Samer Issawi and Palestinian Prisoners

18 February 2013

For years, we have been trying to raise the world’s awareness about the barbaric and unjust fate of the Palestinian political prisoners. The latter, that Israel attempts to destroy by means of torture and imprisonment under horrible conditions, have been resisting for decades. Not less than 800,000 Palestinians, men, women and children, went through the Israeli jails since the occupation in June 1967. With regard to the size of the Palestinian population, that would mean the equivalent of 15 million French or British citizens being jailed during the same period!
Did you know that when a Palestinian prisoner dies in an Israeli jail (and there are many), most of the time his corpse is not given back to his family before the end of his sentence. Is it for Israeli “security” or just another inhuman collective punishment?
Deprived from family and lawyers visits, deprived from medical care and decent food, more than often secluded in isolation cells, they have nevertheless managed to maintain their own dignity and protect their mental health through an exemplary mutual aid.
They have waged series of hunger strikes to let the world know about Israeli arbitrary, the reality of the tortures they endure, starting at the age of 12 when they are arrested, interrogated and imprisoned.
Last week, after the release of a video on the internet that had exposed a bit too much their dirty deeds, Israel felt compelled to organize a mock trial of 4 soldiers who had beaten and terrorized with their hound a Palestinian kid, whose only crime was that he could not show his ID at a army checkpoint manned by the occupation army on his own homeland in the West Bank.
You also know Israel uses without restriction of its so-called “administrative detention” whereby someone can be indefinitely imprisoned without trial and even without any indictment. There are currently 178 such “administrative” Palestinian prisoners.
That was for instance the situation of the football professional player Mahmoud Sarsak, who had been rotting in an Israeli jail for three long years : Mahmoud made a 95 day long hunger strike, which gained international attention and finally obliged Israel to release him.

Now, Samer Issawi has entered his 205th day of hunger strike. He was released in a prisoner exchange, only to be re-arrested by Israeli forces. Today he is between life and death. And his life depends on us. He has lost half of his weight, his internal organs are ceasing to function. His vision is fading out, he can’t speak and he vomits blood.
We have to break the complicit silence of our leaders, of our elected representatives, so that they put pressure on the Israeli occupier with whom they have such good relationships in all fields.